West Health invests $4.25M in Kinect-powered rehab startup

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 31, 2012        

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Reflexion HealthThe West Health Investment Fund, which is a part of the West Health Institute, announced a $4.25 million investment into Reflexion Health, a startup that recently spun out of the institute. Reflexion plans to offer a physical therapy digital health program that leverages Microsoft Kinect for Windows. The West Health Institute developed the software and Reflexion is licensing it.

Like the first startup to spin out of West, Sense4Baby, Reflexion won’t be going too far — physically, anyway — it is still based onsite at the institute’s La Jolla, California headquarters since it is a part of West’s recently announced incubator.

Reflexion’s motion tracking system, called Rehabilitation Measurement Tool (RMT), uses a personal computer running Kinect to provide interactive feedback and educational materials based on the patient’s progress with their physical therapy. The aim is to help physical therapists and physicians to more easily track a patient’s rehab progress but the longterm goal is to improve patient adherence to a prescribed PT program, too.

“Reflexion Health is demonstrating that engaging medical software can become a powerful tool for clinicians to help patients, just like prescription drugs or traditional medical devices,” Spencer Hutchins, co-founder and CEO of Reflexion Health stated in the announcement. “This substantial investment will help Reflexion Health build its world-class team, accelerate product development and conduct clinical trials with the system.”

Hutchins previously worked at The West Health Institute and prior to that served on the healthcare team at the FCC that helped draft a healthcare chapter of its National Broadband Plan. His FCC colleagues Dr. Mohit Kaushal and Kerry McDermott also joined the West Health Institute not too long after the publication of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan in 2010. Kaushal now heads the West Health Investment Fund and McDermott is a senior director of policy at the West Health Policy Center in Washington DC. In recent weeks the FCC has announced plans to rehire healthcare talent to help it better navigate digital health.

More on Reflexion in this video.

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Esther Dyson, Prostor Capital inject $2M into Russia health startup

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 31, 2012        

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004_esther_dysonMoscow, Russia-based startup VitaPortal, which spun out of Moscow’s Fastlane Ventures incubator last year, announced $2 million in its first round of funding. Prostor Capital led the round and noted angel investor Esther Dyson also contributed.

When VitaPortal first launched last year it aspired to be a Russian version of WebMD that enabled people in Russia to quickly find reliable health information that had been reviewed by a physician. Since its launch the startup has branched out and has begun offering 30 personalized online health management apps and it is developing a physician and hospital ranking system. It aims to use the new funds to help build out those two product lines. According to VitaPortal, some 1 million people have used its health tools over the past six months.

When VitaPortal launched last year a report over at East-West Digital News pegged Fastlane Ventures initial investment in the startup at about $1 million.

“There’s so much that people can do themselves to stay or get healthy… but they don’t know,” Dyson stated in the company’s announcement. “With VitaPortal, we hope to give them the knowledge and the motivation to live healthier lives, both with content and with apps that help them get meaning from data about their own health and activities.”

Back in 2010 Dyson also helped to launch a Russian version of Text4Baby in that country. She’s also been very active as an angel investor for digital health startups in the US.

Last December HealthRally announced $400,000 in funding from a group of angel investors that included Dyson. HealthRally combines financial incentives and social networking by creating a fundraising crowd platform similar to the website Kickstarter, which enables micro-investments for various causes and projects. Last March Dyson contributed to a $2.35 million round of funding for patient-physician Q&A platform HealthTap. Dyson also backed Contagion Health, which merged with Health Month to become Habit Labs, but the team disbanded and shed its assets earlier this year.

App helps WHO track adolescent health across the Americas

By: Neil Versel | Oct 31, 2012        

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eGSHS iPad app from PAHO/WHOThe world’s oldest international public health organization has introduced its first mobile app, to help professionals track the health, fitness and safety of students and other adolescent populations.

Called eGSHS, the iPhone/iPad app from the 110-year-old Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) is a mobile version of the widely used Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS). This survey monitors the health and behaviors of people aged 13 to 15 in more than 30 countries throughout the Americas, taking measures of diet, physical activity, hygiene, alcohol consumption, drug and tobacco use, violence and unintentional injuries, sexual and reproductive health, and mental health.

The PAHO and WHO launched the app last week at the Ninth Regional Congress on Health Sciences Information in Washington. PAHO is effectively the WHO’s regional office for the Americas.

The app allows health professionals to visualize and share survey results with colleagues and public-health authorities. It also lets users make comparisons across populations within and across cities and countries.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, which helped develop the GSHS, the survey has been in use across the Western Hemisphere since 2003. The survey is intended to help identify trends in health behaviors and assist countries in developing policies for youth health programs.

For more about the app, PAHO offers this video in Spanish.

LGTmedical powers low-cost devices through mobile’s headphone jack

By: Neil Versel | Oct 31, 2012        

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LGTMedical Pulse OximiterThis month, LionsGate Technologies, also known as LGTmedical, announced a new approach to mobile medical diagnostic technology. Instead of building medical devices with integrated displays that transmit data to smartphones via Bluetooth or the phone’s dock connector or USB port, the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company is using the phone’s — or tablet’s or PC’s — audio jack to run low-power diagnostic equipment and taking advantage of the host computer’s superior processing capability.

Researchers from the Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, at the University of British Columbia, who developed the technology were trying to answer one question, according to LGTmedical President and CEO Tom Walker: “Can the phone drive the sensor through the audio jack?” The answer, they found, was yes.

“The notion was to try to reduce the design costs,” Walker says. He notes that mobile health devices compatible with Apple’s proprietary iPhone dock connector tend to be more expensive than standalone home health devices. Likewise, devices with wireless Bluetooth radios aboard also cost more than their non-connected counterparts. Keep reading>>

QuantiaMD raises $12M for physician collaboration platform

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 30, 2012        

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QuantiaMDWaltham, Massachusetts-based QuantiaMD, which offers a mobile and online physician community and collaboration platform, raised a $12 million round of funding from return backer Fuse Capital. The company plans to use the funds for building out its platform’s capabilities and better meet the needs of payers, health systems, and others who leverage QuantiaMD to engage with physicians. It will also help it increase sales, marketing and client services for pharma companies that use QuantiaMD to reach physicians.

QuantiaMD claims that more than 25 percent of practicing physicians are active members of QuantiaMD. The average user spends about 45 minutes per week on the platform, which enables doctors to share insights and interact with hundreds of top experts from various medical specialties. The company says it has 160,000 registered and validated physicians on its platform, including more than 500 expert faculty from top academic institutions. About one third of QuantiaMD users access the platform exclusively from their mobile devices.

“Most health plans and hospitals still rely heavily on homegrown portals, fax and mail to communicate with physicians,” Eric Schultz, CEO of QuantiaMD stated in a release. “These methods are time-consuming, antiquated and ineffective, given how physicians work today. Our scalable platform is fully mobile and easy to leverage for clients who need to engage physicians in fast, high-quality interactions that drive education and positively impact clinical behavior.”

The platform’s customers include nine of the top 12 pharmaceutical companies in the world, according to the company.

Rock Health’s 4th class to benefit from KP’s advice

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 29, 2012        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsLast week digital health incubator Rock Health announced its fourth class of startups, which will be the first to go through the program with the increased $100,000 in funding. Rock Health also announced last week that Kaiser Permanente, the largest integrated healthcare system in the US, has joined as a partner to the program and will help advise Rock’s startups alongside its other partners, which already include Mayo Clinic, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mohr Davidow, Aberdare Ventures, GE, Genentech, United Healthcare, UCSF, Harvard Medical School, and Nike.

In addition to the Kaiser Permanente announcement, Rock Health announced the 14 startups that would be joining its next class. As expected the larger amount of funding helped attract some impressive candidates, including a few that MobiHealthNews has covered in the past. Beam Technologies, which announced FDA clearance for its accelerometer-equipped, manual toothbrush that transmits data to a smartphone app to track tooth brushing, made the cut. Wellframe, which has founders from mHealth Alliance award-winning Sana, RunKeeper, and Dossia. Medication adherence-focused startup Mango Health, which already pulled in a $1.45 million seed round, is set to enter the incubator, too.

For more on these startups and the others, read through the descriptions Rock Health provided below: Keep reading>>